The dream of small flying taxi vehicles and the business opportunities that they would imply has been hot stuff this year. Many large companies have joined the industry – and now they are joined by challenger Archer. The Californian startup can count on solvent investors – and developers from well-known companies – in the race for supremacy in electric drones.
Archer is developing a purely electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically. It is intended to carry four passengers over a distance of up to 60 miles (96 km) at a speed of up to 150mph (about 240 km/h). The actual craft they are going to conquer the industry with has no name yet.
At first, the idea is that the vehicle will be run by a pilot, but in the long run, it will be an autonomous vehicle. In terms of appearance, the aircraft looks like a small aircraft, but instead of jet engines, it has twelve propellers on its wings. The wings are fixed, but the propellers can be turned up and thus lift the vehicle.
Archer claims to be using the latest battery technologies. On its website, the company says the battery will weigh around one ton and will have a usable capacity of 143 kWh. Of these, 80 kWh are intended for the flight (“cruise”), 26 kWh for the hover, and 37 kWh as a reserve. The lower 16 kWh of the battery should not be used, the upper 28 kWh is planned as a loss during the aging of the battery.
In addition to giving a blurry picture of their craft and showing how they have calculated in range, it is quite thin on information. The company has managed to “attract top talent from the industry.” The team currently consists of 40 engineers, “including talents from the competing eVTOL startups Joby, Airbus Vahana and Wisk”.
Archer is founded and managed by Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein. They recently sold the marketplace startup Vettery to Adecco – for over $100 million. The biggest investor of the newcomer from Palo Alto is Marc Lore, the CEO of Walmart eCommerce. Lore has already founded several companies and made them big. In 2010 he sold Quidsi to Amazon for $550 million, most recently his e-commerce brand jet.com went to Walmart for $3.3 billion – which also earned him his current position.
How realistic these values are will be shown during the test flights by 2021. The company does not yet state when the Archer aircraft will take off for the first time or even transport passengers.